We always find the children sticking their hands in the paint jars because they are so intrigued with the way paint feels on their hands. This week, we followed their lead and provided them with the sensory experience that their actions suggest they have been searching for.
We set up a provocation outside with various colors of paint and large sheets of paper. The children gathered together around the sheets and were encouraged to write letters and words using only the paint. To begin, the children worked on combing the paint colors. There were no paintbrushes so they had to mix all of the paint by hand. After the paint was combined, the children spent the remainder of their time using their hands to write their names in the paint.
The children worked side by side and were creative with the paint, mixing colors and practicing their best finger painting script.
Sensory activities create valuable learning experiences for children, allowing for a perfect mix of fun creative expression and challenging skill-building tasks. In this case, the children expressed their inner creativity freely in an artistic fashion. This type of self-expression in a supportive environment builds self-esteem and confidence.
By using their hands and fingers to mix the paint and write letters, the children exercised their hand muscles, strengthening their fine motor skills. Additionally, practicing different letters and working in a group gave the children a chance to enhance their oral and written communication skills.
The process of combining colors together required the children to build upon a couple of different skills. First, by choosing which colors to mix and how many to mix, they exercised decision-making. Then, watching what happened to the colors as they mixed together added a scientific aspect to this exploration, allowing the children to further their understanding of cause and effect in relation to color.
Exploring and learning from each other and the environment are core principles in the Reggio Emillia approach, and they were beautifully displayed in this fun exploration.